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  • Writer's pictureAnneka Jones

#ShePaddles Weekender, Broadways Meadow, Barrow-upon-Soar

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Written by Vicky Belcham

Saturday 2nd September 2023

Saturday 2nd September, the first properly sunny day in weeks, saw the start of the inaugural #ShePaddles weekend at Broadways Meadow in Barrow-upon-Soar. The event, organised by the British Canoeing East Midlands Regional Development Team, saw 50 women get together for a weekend of workshops, coaching, mass paddle trips, food, fun and laughter.

Women travelled from all over the East Midlands to attend the weekend, and the Leicestershire contingent was made up of groups from PaddlePlus (we were well represented, with about a dozen members in attendance, including Kat Smith who is on the RDT), Hinckley Canoe Club, and the LOPC Women’s Group. Some attendees came alone, others came with friends, but we all very quickly gelled as one big #ShePaddles group.

Workshops were run throughout the weekend by various coaches and leaders. We tackled problem-solving, water-based games, biosecurity, fitness, rescue practice, an introduction to freestyle (led by our very own Sophie Macken), paddles to the pub, a sunrise paddle… the list goes on!

There was something for everyone, and never a dull moment.

As someone who usually paddles in mixed groups, I wasn’t sure what I would get out of a ‘women’s only’ event. I almost didn’t book a ticket, but I’m SO glad I did. Aside from the excellent organisation of the event, the whole weekend was absolutely wonderful. The atmosphere was truly supportive and inclusive, with everyone helping each other and providing encouragement, advice, and guidance where needed.

Life-long friendships were made, and I think we may have even managed to get a few new recruits for PaddlePlus!

We’re all waiting in anticipation of a date for the next #ShePaddles weekend!

Thanks again to the team,


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